Bread and Butter Pickles


This falls under the posts I wasn’t able to do during computer-geddon.

So, what should we plant in our garden, says me.

Well, we need to have cucumbers. Ava loves cucumbers, says the Dear One.

Well, okie dokie, thinking to myself … I don’t really like cucumbers. Do we have to plant A LOT of them? Strike that … I like tzatziki. I like pickles. I like to use them in a sauce for salmon. I do like a little bit raw and in a salad. L-I-T-T-L-E bit.

In the cucumber plants go. Off goes the gardener (a/k/a the Dear One) to work in Russia for 3 weeks. And suddenly KA-BOOOOM it’s cucumber hell.

You know that neighbor you have or have heard about? The ones that leave zucchini on your doorstep and run away? Well, that was me! The cucumber monster.

Even with giving them away there were tons around. Now, the Dear One does not eat anything pickled … sigh. But I DO and he was away and I was bored and I needed something to do to entertain myself. (lotso justifying going’ on here)

And then I came across this recipe for Bread & Butter pickles over at Recipe Girl and realized I had this great cookbook Cooking Light’s Cooking Through the Seasons on my bookshelves. Ta da! I was set!

What I did do, though, being the only pickle person on the premises was ‘can’ them. Something I have wanted to try for quite some time, and there will be more of this following. My mother now refers to me as ‘my daughter, Laura Ingalls’.

I was a bit nervous about this canning process at first, but once I started it was off to the races. I didn’t can much this year. I much happier with things in the chest freezer we have. But now I’ve started this there are a host of things I have ready to try for next year!

To very loosely quote Bob Wiley (and if you don’t know the character or the movie … sigh) – I’m canning! I’m canning! I’m canning! I can! I’m a canner! I can!

I was surprised at how easy the pickle part of this project was. For some reason I had an entire saga that went on when you pickle something.

  • 5 1/2 C (1 1/2 pounds) thinly sliced pickling cucumbers
  • 1 1/2 T kosher salt
  • 1 C thinly sliced sweet onion
  • 1 C granulated white sugar
  • 1 C white vinegar
  • 1/2 C apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 C light brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 1/2 t mustard seeds
  • 1/2 t celery seeds
  • 1/8 t ground turmeric

Combine cucumbers and salt in a large, shallow bowl; cover and chill 1 1/2 hours. Move cucumbers into a colander and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Drain well, and return cucumbers to bowl. Add onion to the bowl.

NOTE: When you’re slicing the cucumbers, don’t slice them too thinly. You want them to have a bit of substance to them so they’ll hold up in the pickling liquid.

Add onions

Combine sugar and remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Pour hot vinegar mixture over cucumber mixture; let stand at room temperature 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate 24 hours. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 2 weeks or give them a hot water bath to seal the jars and they’ll store forever … for a very long time … until you’re ready to use them.

Pickled Peppers

If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, this would be the pickled peppers Peter Piper would pick!

Tommy is addicted to – YES, addicted to – pickled peppers on his sandwiches. He goes through at least a jar a week. That really adds up after a while!

I have been dying to try my hand at pickles, pickled beets, dilly beans, SOMETHING! I want to can and preserve and see jars lining my pantry shelves.

The problem? I AM A CHICKEN! What if I get too overwhelmed? What if the jars EXPLODE in the water bath? What if after the water bath the tops don’t vacuum close? What if, after all of this work and horrors, whatever I put up tastes YUCKY!?

This sort of stuff keeps me up nights.

And then I happened upon the wonderful blog Seasoned to Taste! What did she make? Pickled peppers! It was fate!  Come on, girl, put on your big girl pants and give it a try! What’s the worst that happens? They’re terrible and you throw them out!

So off I went  – I bought peppers. I bought jars. Shaking in my boots, I started –

  • 3 C sliced peppers
  • 3 C white vinegar
  • 1 C water
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed


NOTE: I used Italian frying peppers. And, although Seasoned to Taste used hot peppers, for my first try I decided to stay sweet.

Sanitize jars and lids. Once clean, remove without touching insides to cool on a clean towel.

NOTE: Okay. I am a canning dunce. I washed the jars and lids in my dishwasher – which doesn’t have a sanitize button, but does have a super hot wash and dry cycle. Also, I waited to begin the dishwasher until I was absolutely ready to start. I cut up the pepper first, started the wash, put the water up to boil for the water bath.

Set two large stainless steel (or non-aluminum) pots on the stove, one filled with enough water to submerge jars. Heat water-filled pot.

In second pot, combine vinegar, water and garlic. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and boil for 5 min. Discard garlic.

Pack peppers into sanitized jars and ladle hot pickling liquid in, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Tap to remove air bubbles, wipe rim. Center lid on jar and tighten.

NOTE: This centering and tightening had me completely a little nuts. Is the lid on straight? Wait, that rim feels crooked.  

Place jars in canning pot of water, bring to a boil, cover and process 10 min. Remove lid, wait 5 min. then remove jars and cool. Once cooled, you will feel that the seal has snapped shut. Store, or open and eat!

NOTE: I placed a dishcloth on the bottom of the pot so the jars wouldn’t clank around as much. Of course, I didn’t read the directions properly and put the jars in water already boiling! My second batch I re-read and slapped myself in the forehead and did it the right way! Now, my question is: “Remove lid and wait 5 minutes.”  Is that 5 minutes lid off, heat on or 5 minutes lid off, heat off? See why pickling drives me insane!?

I have now done this twice. Once totally sweet, the second with a hot chili involved. They’re sitting on a shelf. The boy walks by and stares at them. A few more days and he can have at ’em!

By the way, when you first take them out of the water, the lids are tight. Then suddenly they are loose! Then I go in a panic and walk away disgusted. Then I come back when the jars are much cooler and like magic the lids are tight and sealed!

Now, how easy was that? What were you all so worried about?